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This is what to say (and what not to say) during any salary negotiation

Talking about money can be really uncomfortable, no matter how strong your case is for deserving a higher salary. Here’s how to frame the conversation and what to avoid saying at all costs.

This is what to say (and what not to say) during any salary negotiation
[Photos: pattcom/Pixabay; Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock]

No one ever taught me about negotiating, and for the first several years of my career, I was so happy to get any job offer. When the hiring manager stated the salary, I simply said, “Okay, thank you.” The idea that I could ask for a higher number, and that my skills and talent were worth more than the company’s initial offer, never crossed my mind.

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But hopefully if you are reading this article, you are steps ahead of where I was. Still, talking about money can be really uncomfortable no matter how strong your case is for deserving a higher salary. One of the first steps is to reframe the way you view negotiation—approach it like a collaboration to reach a common goal, instead of two opposing parties trying to get their way at the cost of the other.

But no matter how you frame the conversation, there is a lot of potential for missteps, which is why on the new episode of Secrets of the Most Productive People, we break down exactly what to say to best position your ask and the common minefields to avoid (hint: don’t mention how expensive your rent is, or that your coworker makes more).

In the meantime, here are three quick tips to have a successful salary negotiation:

1. Do your homework. This might sound like an obvious tip, but without preparation, you have a very small chance of success. Look at salary guides from sites like Glassdoor and PayScale , and make sure you take geography into account. Of course, the ideal step would be to find out what others with your position and levels of experience are earning in your company and figure out your number from there. But if that’s not an option, make sure to reach out to industry associations in your city because they’ll have an accurate idea of what a fair market rate would be.

2. Find your point of differentiation, and focus on how that will benefit the company. If the company has provided you an offer, chances are they saw something in you that set you apart from other candidates. You can frame your negotiation by expressing how a higher salary can help you bring more value to the company and what you’re excited to accomplish. That’s likely to get a hiring manager on your side.

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3. Don’t forget other forms of compensation. Whether it be more vacations, conference budgets, or transportation costs, think about what else you can ask for to increase your overall compensation. After all, your salary is just one part of it. And if you’re really stuck, don’t forget to set a timeline and action steps with your hiring manager on the next steps that you should take to talk about when an appropriate time for a raise may be.

You can find the episode on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherSpotifyRadioPublic, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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About the author

Kathleen Davis is Deputy Editor at FastCompany.com. Previously, she has worked as an editor at Entrepreneur.com, WomansDay.com and Popular Photography magazine.

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